On what I do not know
There is an uncomfortable edge when I do not know, do not have an answer, and am in that vulnerable space of the unknown, without the ability to control the outcome, or even the process. While I have been taught that life is uncontrollable at times, it is an entirely different playing field to live this teaching. It can be especially trying when I am in fear, reaching new thresholds and captivated by the story lines of my mind.
It’s a Spring day in which I am aware of just how many things I do not know. I do not know how my life will unfold beyond this moment. I do not always know how certain bills will be paid, or which friends I will share my adventures with and when. I am not sure if I will find the courage to stay awake on my path when it is exceptionally hard. I do not know what kinds of favorite foods I will be cooking up next month, or if my love of chanting will ever fully drop into my heart and out of my head. I am not sure if I will go to Turkey, Ecuador, or India, or if I will know what it is like to be bold and big and sharing my poems with anymore than a select few.
I do know that the desert is beautiful and that I love my children intensely. I know that I adore eating vegetables from my own garden. I know that sometimes I think I am an incredibly sexy woman, and at other times if the wind blows different I struggle with dysmorphic visions. I know that I am in love with a partner that I choose to be in union with each day, and that when I am happy he feels joy. I know that writing is a healing balm, and dancing cleanses my soul, and that my spirit is gigantic.
On the subject of not knowing and then sometimes knowing, I was taught a radical practice. Not quite nine years ago this particular teaching began to sink into my bones. I am continually amazed to discover which lessons offered to me will become so poignant to my growth, to my survival, to my capacity to meet life as is. Like a precious gift, these words sing to my ears. “In life you either know, or you don’t. Until you do, wait.” It was Maya Tiwara, an Ayurvedic practitioner who blessed me with this simple wisdom.
This theme is often lurking past the emptying of the tea cup. What will happen next? Can I wait until I know, or things are revealed? Can I control life in some way? Am I even aware of how much I am trying to control the next moment of my life? Have I stopped lately to see the tactics that have become so implicit that I miss the opportunity to free fall into the unknown as a mystical ride?
The tidy boxes I personally utilize to feel a false sense of safety can be skillful. I find great comfort in recycling my clothes often, or cleaning out my cupboards (or other people’s) as a practice of letting go. I like to know my schedule for the next season at the first of the current season. To give myself a false sense of being I get active with wonderful endeavors. They often lead to beautiful outcomes, but at times the sense of doing is a distraction from the edginess of impatience for life’s unfolding. It is understandable that these attempts to control offer me a sense of safety. These tendencies can be quite resourceful, but I am learning more and more about titrating myself into being with just how much I do not know. There is a new felt sense as I learn that I do not have to escape the discomfort of the unknown, and employ my exhausting strategies for distraction.
When in a more centered place, I can laugh at the ways in which I want to mask what I do not know with my little “isms” and not so sly tactics. In that place I can have compassion as I softly roar like a lion attempting to scare away what I do not know, and certainly cannot control. When my fear is greater than my courage, I often cry. I can kick. It is at these tender points that I suffer, and fail to remember to stay open to self, to Source, to other.
Today is a day of medicine and of making a choice to courageously befriend what I do not know and revel in the cosmic unfolding. With a commitment to a path of awakening, my experience as I repeat my learned mantra, and include all of the feelings that surround it each time, is that the waiting period for “knowing” becomes more bearable. The fears within me become more seamless, as life simply is. Not knowing becomes like passing clouds in the vast sky. I have the inescapable freedom of this moment and the grace and fortitude to recognize that beyond this, I am grasping. I have no illusion that tomorrow my comfort level with the unknowns will be as amicable. Yet, the flavor of sweet surrender, as she returns again, is like the ever turning merry-go-round that is both exhilarating and innocent and at times revolting. I have the capacity to meet and welcome life each moment as she unfolds in her perfection.